Dorson Annual Gala
Celebrating 30 years of impact.
Dorson Community Foundation Annual Gala
Celebrating 30 Years of Impact
Thursday, June 16, 2022
The Highlawn, 1 Crest Dr, West Orange, NJ
6:00PM | Cocktail Reception
7:00PM | Gala Dinner & Program
Hear directly from our Executive Director, Natasha Scott, who is not just an alum of Dorson Community Foundation, but also the daughter of our Founder.
Held yearly, Dorson Community Foundation's Annual Gala celebrates the dedication and achievements of our Scholars, alumni, partners and organization.
After two years apart, we are thrilled to welcome our community back in person to celebrate Dorson's 30th Anniversary on Thursday, June 16th! For the past 30 years, we have changed the lives of over 2,000 students in Essex County, NJ. To celebrate this milestone, we invite you to join us for an evening of stories from Dorson Scholars past and present, award ceremony to honor leaders making monumental changes in our community, a silent auction and opportunities to pledge your support throughout the event.
If you are unable to attend in person, we welcome you to join us virtually by receiving on-demand video and highlights direct to your email after the gala or by making a tax-deductible donation. Registration has now closed for our virtual wine tasting on June 22nd, but we welcome you to support Dorson’s 30th Anniversary by making a tax-deductible donation here.
Proceeds from the Annual Gala will go directly to supporting the expansion and the future of our Dorson Scholars Program. We hope you’ll join us in investing in Dorson’s future for the next 30 years!
COORDINATOR OF COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT, NEWARK ART MUSEUM
Darryl Dwayne Walker is an artist (actor / tv correspondent), creative director, educator, and movement specialist. Originally hailing from Norfolk Virginia born to two parents who migrated from the deep south of Birmingham Alabama. Darryl is best known for his work as a performing artist and his corresponding work in front of the camera for the TV show "Montage." His career as a dancer and performing artist started while acquiring his BA of Fine Arts with a focus in fashion marketing. The opportunity to tour and book work as a dancer were opened and he would share the stage with international R&B recording artist such as Mario, Monica, T.R.U, Carl Thomas, Cheri Dennis and many more. Currently as a digital and mixed media artist, Darryl Dwayne is flexing his performing arts background and television personality skills at the same time. Working as The Coordinator Of Community Engagement at the Newark Museum of Art (NMOA) where he also acts as the Creative Director over yearly summer theater productions and works in partnership with the artist in residency program.
HONORING SONIA SCOTT
LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
Sonia Scott, Founder of Dorson Community Foundation, will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award for her commitment to investing in the next generation of leaders from underserved communities, and for her significant contributions to serving over 2,000 students in Essex County, NJ.
Sonia Y. Scott is a teacher, author and well-known personality in the health and wellness industry. A native of Jamaica, Mrs. Scott is a first-generation college graduate having received her Bachelors from Herbert H. Lehman College. Mrs. Scott founded Dorson Home Care, Inc., a licensed and accredited home health care agency headquartered in West Orange, NJ. She is also the founder of Dorson Vocational Training Institute. Mrs. Scott founded Dorson Community Foundation with a mission dedicated to providing inner-city youth in Essex with a meaningful alternative lifestyle to one involving drugs and gangs. She is a member of several organizations including the Caribbean Medical Mission, the Association for Female Executives, New Jersey Association of Business Owners (NJABO), and the Essex County Coalition for the Protection of Vulnerable Adults (ECCPVA). She is also a Certified Dementia Practitioner (CDP). Mrs. Scott is a person who pushes boundaries by skillfully weaving her compelling life story into helping others build a life story.
HONORING TONY ALLEN
CHAMPION OF ACCESS AND OPPORTUNITY AWARD
Anthony (Tony) Allen, Founding Director of Student Diplomacy Corps (SDC), will receive the Champion of Access and Opportunity Award for his commitment to providing life-changing opportunities for underserved youth through cross cultural experiences and for SDC's long-standing partnership with Dorson Community Foundation.
Tony Allen has worked for thirty years with non-profit organizations focused on field-based educational opportunities for under-served high school & college students. Tony attended Oberlin College in Oberlin, OH majoring in government and third world studies, and pursued graduate studies in public policy at the City University of New York. Tony and his wife, Reina, live in Montclair, New Jersey and have two children, Kai and Liam. He serves on the boards of The Northeast Earth Coalition, Crane Park Demonstration Garden and Kiwanis Club of Montclair.
Student Diplomacy Corps
SDC was created to bring summer enrichment opportunities to dynamic high school students absent from experiential and academic extracurricular programs. SDC combines college readiness programming with place-based international education projects. SDC’s pedagogy includes a formal nomination process where students are identified by teachers, administrators and mentors at schools and youth development organizations across the USA. Students complete a rigorous version of The Common Application and participate in formal interviews before being selected for summer study-away SDC projects. www.sdcorps.org
HONORING A'DORIAN MURRAY-THOMAS
CHAMPION OF ACCESS AND OPPORTUNITY AWARD
A'Dorian Murray-Thomas, Founder and CEO of SHE Wins Inc., will receive the Champion of Access and Opportunity Award for her commitment to investing in the next generation of leaders and change agents from underserved communities by leading efforts to improve access and success for youth in Essex County, NJ.
A’Dorian Murray-Thomas is the Founder and CEO of SHE Wins Inc., a leadership and social action organization for middle and high school girls in Newark, New Jersey. Born and raised in the city of Newark, A’Dorian founded SHE Wins to create a pipeline of Newark college and career-ready young women leaders. At the age of 23, A'Dorian became the youngest person ever elected to the Newark school board and was also recognized as one of President Obama’s White House Champion of Change for College Opportunity, one of Glamour Magazine’s “College Women of the Year”, a Youth Service America’s “Everyday Young Hero”, named a New Jersey Hero by New Jersey Former First Lady Pat Christie, and one of “The Root” Magazine’s 25 Young Futurists for her work in education and youth development. A’Dorian and her SHE Wins scholars have been featured in ESSENCE Magazine’s ‘Black Girl Magic’ docuseries, ABC’s “Here and Now” talk show, The New Jersey Star Ledger, USA Today, Positive Community Magazine, and Fox Nightly News. A'Dorian chaired the Education Committee as a Board Member on the State Farm Youth Advisory Board, where she helped allocate funds for more than $5 million dollars worth of service-learning grants across the U.S. and Canada until 2016.
A’Dorian previously served at the Newark Opportunity Youth Network, where she empowered over-aged and under-credited high school youth from Newark Public Schools to reconnect to educational options, as well as helped implement the district’s restorative-based intervention for students on long-term suspension. A’Dorian is a 2016 graduate of Swarthmore College and holds a B.A. in Political Science and Educational Studies.
SHE Wins, Inc.
SHE Wins Inc. offers a free leadership and social action organization for middle and high school girls in Newark. While inclusive all girls, SHE Wins primarily aims to serve girls affected by inner city violence. A trauma informed program, the SHE Wins model combines social and emotional learning with rigorous college and career readiness training so that girls who are most exposed to high risk factors are best positioned for secondary and post-secondary educational success. The program includes a summer and afterschool leadership academy where girls develop leadership, literacy and self-regulatory skills through mentorship, project-based learning and service-learning projects.
Invest in the future of our Dorson Scholars Program by supporting our Annual Gala!
For checks, please make payable to Dorson Community Foundation and mail to:
Dorson Community Foundation, 280 South Harrison Street, Suite 300, East Orange, NJ 07018
For questions or to participate in this year's Annual Gala, please contact Eloise Nicoll at firstname.lastname@example.org
Can't attend? Please consider supporting our work by making a donation as an investment in the future of our Scholars here.
Founder & Vice President
Sonia Y. Scott is a teacher, author and well-known personality in the health and wellness industry. A native of Jamaica, Mrs. Scott is a first-generation college graduate having received her Bachelors from Herbert H. Lehman College.
Mrs. Scott founded Dorson Home Care, Inc., a licensed and accredited home health care agency headquartered in West Orange, NJ. She is also the founder of Dorson Vocational Training Institute.
Mrs. Scott founded Dorson Community Foundation with a mission dedicated to providing inner-city youth in Essex with a meaningful alternative lifestyle to one involving drugs and gangs.
She is a member of several organizations including the Caribbean Medical Mission, the Association for Female Executives, New Jersey Association of Business Owners (NJABO), and the Essex County Coalition for the Protection of Vulnerable Adults (ECCPVA). She is also a Certified Dementia Practitioner (CDP). Mrs. Scott is a person who pushes boundaries by skillfully weaving her compelling life story into helping others build a life story.
Natasha Scott is a 2016 graduate of Teachers College, Columbia University with a Master of Arts degree in Higher and Postsecondary Education. She is a 2011 magna cum laude graduate of the University of Pennsylvania.
Natasha is an alum of Dorson Community Foundation, having participated in several programs as a child and adolescent. Wanting to impart her hands‐on “how‐to‐get‐into‐college” knowledge to others, Natasha has worked for years with Dorson Community Foundation students providing college prep mentorship to students tackling the college admissions process. Natasha's work at Dorson Community Foundation is what influenced her to write and publish The College Admissions Bible in 2013. The guidebook has been purchased by Paterson Public School District, East Orange School District, and Orange High School. Natasha has since built her career in the college access/college success space.
Prior to being named Executive Director, Natasha served as an Assistant Director of Undergraduate Career Development at Columbia University's Center for Career Education.
Natasha is also a former Program Associate for the Northeast Region of A Better Chance, a national nonprofit organization recruiting and placing high-achieving children of color into independent day and boarding schools around the country.
Leslie G. Daley, CPA is the founding principal of LESLIE G DALEY, LLC an accounting and tax firm located in Maplewood, New Jersey. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in accounting from Rutgers University, New Jersey in 1986. He is a licensed Certified Public Accountant and a member of the New Jersey Society of Certified Public Accountants.
He has specialized and extensive knowledge and experience in the areas of accounting and taxation for Individuals, Corporations and Partnerships specifically in the health care and home care industries. Leslie also provides financial planning services for Individuals and accounting and financial services for non-profit organizations.
Born and raised in Jamaica to a single mom, Kellion learned the value of education at an early age. Consequently, Kellion used her athletic talents in track and field as a discus thrower to pave the way to higher education.
She moved to the US in 2012 to pursue a college education and an athletic career at the Florida State University. While at FSU, Kellion became one of the best discus throwers in the ACC. She claimed 5 ACC titles, 2 regional titles and became a 3-time all-American. Kellion competed at the 2017 World Championship, the 2016 Olympic Games and the 2014 Commonwealth Games.
Kellion has a BA in English and MA in Communication & Digital Media Studies and is now a Marketing professional with experience in content writing, social media, email marketing and website management. She helps small companies build their online and social media presence.
Kellion hopes to share her experience and expertise in online marketing communications with Dorson Community Foundation as a Board Member for years to come.
Liz has had a 20 year career operating her own business as an art consultant working with architects and designers to provide large and small scale and art installations to restaurants, hotels and resorts worldwide. In 2009, she and her family moved to Melbourne, Australia when her husband went to work for Melbourne based travel company, Lonely Planet.
Consequently, Liz has traveled extensively globally learning about different cultures and viewpoints from around the world. Today, Liz consults with start ups to help with the business launch. Liz and her husband Matt are involved with many educational organizations including Cornell University, The University of Melbourne and the Lumina Foundation and are passionate about thinking about how to level the playing field to create opportunities for kids from at-risk populations.
Liz currently lives in New Jersey with her husband Matt and three kids Aidan, Jesse and Olivia.
Michelle A. Butler is a Project Manager for one of the top Engineering Consulting firms- Burns & McDonnell. Michelle started her career with the electric utility industry 13 years ago. She has worked with several major electric utilities including Florida Power and Light (“FPL”), Eversource Energy, and most recently Public Service Electric & Gas (PSE&G) in New Jersey.
Michelle was born in Santiago, Dominican Republic and raised in Miami, Florida. She earned a Bachelor of Science (“BS”) degree in Industrial Engineering from the University of Florida in 2005 and an MBA from the University of Central Florida in 2011. As a Project Manager with Burns & McDonnell, Michelle has led and/or assisted in managing substation, transmission, or distribution projects.
She brings 13 years of experience managing large scale transmission/distribution projects valued at more than $450 million, maintaining costs within 10 percent of the planned budget. Michelle specializes in system resiliency, conducting financial and resource-based cost-benefit analysis, and leading utility capital projects. She is experienced in working with public agencies and the community to keep projects on track.
Michelle worked at Eversource Energy for three years as the Manager of Connecticut’s System Resiliency group. Within this role, she coordinated Eversource's $300 million, multi-year effort to develop and implement storm resiliency plans to minimize the effects of major storms on the Distribution system, ultimately improving customer reliability.
Laurel Bernstein is the Founder and President of Laurel Bernstein & Associates, a New Jersey based consulting and training firm focused on enhancing the performance and leadership skills for small business owners.
Laurel has a track record as a highly effective facilitator and trainer, working with business owners to develop key initiatives that leverage talent and help businesses grow. In this capacity for both retention and attraction strategies, she serves as an executive coach.
Ms. Bernstein advises companies, helping owners evaluate business models, plan vibrant strategic initiatives and design team development. She has an impressive track record of improving organizational effectiveness and individual achievements. She helps business owners evolve the way they lead to keep up with the needs of the changing environment and economics.
Ms. Bernstein holds a B.A. in Science Education from Montclair State University and a Certificate in Professional Coaching from Baruch CUNY Zicklin Business School iCoach New York.
Iris Wells is an education advocate who holds a B.A. in Psychology with a concentration in Education, and one year of Masters Level in Instructional Design and Technology with a concentration on Training & Performance Improvement.
Iris Wells brings twenty plus years of educational diversity having worked with preschool through college levels in both the private and public sectors - contributing to traditional and non-traditional environments. Ms. Wells has worked directly with the New York City Board of Education within the Students in Temporary Housing Unit in District Two.
Iris has been served in other roles such as Director, Counselor, Facilitator, Trainer, Consultant, Advisor and Manager that have led her in the public school system, charter school system, and non-profit agencies, where she worked with general education, first time offenders, high risk and gang-involved youth.
She is the Author of It Got Me Through – Daily, I Give Thanks! And, encompassing all that she believes and represents, she is the founder of the QnIrie Foundation which brings everything together through philanthropy, events, volunteerism, fundraisers and more.
Claiming endless possibilities and knowing that through God, All things are possible; Ms. Wells says “there's no telling what's coming next! It's about decreasing me, increasing God and being used to make a difference in the lives of others."